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J Cell Biol. 1999 May 3;145(3):605-18.

Characterization and expression of the laminin gamma3 chain: a novel, non-basement membrane-associated, laminin chain.

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The Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


Laminins are heterotrimeric molecules composed of an alpha, a beta, and a gamma chain; they have broad functional roles in development and in stabilizing epithelial structures. Here, we identified a novel laminin, composed of known alpha and beta chains but containing a novel gamma chain, gamma3. We have cloned gene encoding this chain, LAMC3, which maps to chromosome 9 at q31-34. Protein and cDNA analyses demonstrate that gamma3 contains all the expected domains of a gamma chain, including two consensus glycosylation sites and a putative nidogen-binding site. This suggests that gamma3-containing laminins are likely to exist in a stable matrix. Studies of the tissue distribution of gamma3 chain show that it is broadly expressed in: skin, heart, lung, and the reproductive tracts. In skin, gamma3 protein is seen within the basement membrane of the dermal-epidermal junction at points of nerve penetration. The gamma3 chain is also a prominent element of the apical surface of ciliated epithelial cells of: lung, oviduct, epididymis, ductus deferens, and seminiferous tubules. The distribution of gamma3-containing laminins on the apical surfaces of a variety of epithelial tissues is novel and suggests that they are not found within ultrastructurally defined basement membranes. It seems likely that these apical laminins are important in the morphogenesis and structural stability of the ciliated processes of these cells.

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